I’m sure a large portion of it is my antipathy for the Cardinals – rivalries and all that – but it sure seems like no one in baseball gets more leeway from umpires and MLB officials than Yadier Molina.
The long-time Cardinals catcher has been involved in numerous scrums and scrapes over the years, with other teams and other managers and umpires, and the next time he receives meaningful punishment will be the first that I can remember.
The latest incident featured Nick Castellanos getting overly aggressive at home plate when scoring on a wild pitch (he was upset that he’d originally reached base by way of a hit by pitch that may have been intentional), and the Molina grabbing Castellanos from behind to continue engaging:
The Reds’ and Cardinals’ dugouts have emptied after Nick Castellanos scores on a wild pitch. pic.twitter.com/M8sSctUjbo
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) April 3, 2021
I’m not going to say what Castellanos did was right – it was a bit much, but he was pumped … – and he probably earned some mild punishment for kicking that thing off. But there’s no question in my mind that Molina (and Nolan Arenado with his running charge) escalating things more than was necessary. So naturally, Castellanos gets by far the worst punishment:
MLB suspended #Reds Nicholas Castellanos 2 games. #StLCards Jake Woodford wasn't even fined. Understand hard to read intent, but seemed Woodford hit Castellanos on purpose. So dangerous act goes unpunished and the reactive, non-contact gestures are punished #Wrong
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) April 5, 2021
First of all, two games for what Castellanos did is way too much (he was also fined). That’s a fine situation at most, especially considering he was also already the only guy ejected from that game. This isn’t, to me, a situation where Castellanos was trying to incite a brawl during a pandemic, as we saw some issues with last year on other teams. He was just, apparently, ticked off and then pumped, so he showed it off with just a touch too much edge.
Second of all, I was joking when I tweeted this right after that fight, but I think I was maybe only 10% joking:
Truly, baseball is back. pic.twitter.com/Ph2jbsSqVv
— Bleacher Nation Cubs (@BleacherNation) April 3, 2021
OK, so actually Molina and others – including the Reds – did get fined:
Also, five players received fines:#STLCards third baseman Nolan Arenado, pitcher Jordan Hicks and catcher Yadier Molina.#Reds infielder Eugenio Suarez and outfielder Jesse Winker. https://t.co/bJyHz32jjR
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 5, 2021
Still, I expect the Cardinals to land a couple compensatory draft picks out of this situation, too, when all is said and done.